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Career Development Day stories: the big success

We recently talked about our Career Development Days: events designed to introduce people at Ulster Bank to the variety of opportunities available, and give them the skills to further their careers. But I wanted to hear from some of our colleagues who attended the days to see how they got on.

So for the first of two pieces I grabbed some time with Marian Kamara of the Change team in our Commercial & Private Banking business.

Could you tell me a little about what you do now?

I’m a Senior Project Analyst in Mandatory and Regulatory Change, working with subject matter experts and business leaders to drive through compulsory change projects. I work on a wide variety of things, like training and how to really embed changes. I look at the processes we need to change, and work with different business areas to make sure they’re prepared. We also look at the requirements themselves when new regulations come in, understanding what we do currently and what we need to do differently.

It’s a really interesting role because you’re always looking at new things. For example, one of my last projects was on Open Banking (this link opens in a new tab), which is one of the hottest topics in the banking sector right now.

So what were you doing before you went to a Career Development Day?

I was working in a branch as an Assistant Manager. I’d been in the branches for about 10 years covering several different roles, knew it inside and out, and thought it was time for a change.

I’d finished a degree in Business Management and HR and knew I wanted to change my career direction, but didn’t know how. Fortunately I got an email inviting me to a Career Development Day. It was the first time I’d heard of them and I thought ‘You know what, nothing to lose. Let’s go see what it’s all about.’

I visited lots of stalls, including for Commercial & Private Banking Change. I asked someone there what they do, and what he told me sounded really interesting. He kindly said he’d contact me when a role came up. A few weeks later I got an email about an opportunity, and I applied and interviewed for a project analyst job!

What were you expecting before you went to the careers day?

I didn’t know what to expect. When I went along I was surprised how big it was – much larger than I thought it would be, with lots of stalls full of representatives talking about their areas. It seemed really well structured, there was lots of information and leaflets covering what the businesses do, their roles, and the skills they were looking for.

“It’s been so helpful for me that I want to help other people to make the most of it”

A year later I went to another day and had a session on interview tips, and the lady I spoke to was incredibly helpful. She looked at my CV, went through interview preparation with me, and discussed things I could talk about in my answers. I used the techniques she taught me to apply for a promotion to be a Senior Project Analyst, and was successful! So the Career Development Days have helped me twice, first to go in a new direction, then to get promoted.

That’s fantastic! And I understand you’ve been working with the team as a Career Development Day Advocate?

I have! As an advocate I help out on the days themselves, but I also encourage people to join the Workplace (this link opens in a new tab) group to stay up to date. I’ve run sessions with my team about learning and development as well, including talking about the career days. I’d definitely say more people have heard of Career Development Days now. They’re much more likely to go along, especially if they want to make a change or need advice.

It’s been so helpful for me that I want to help other people to make the most of it. When I was representing our Design & Change team I spoke to a few people who were interested, so afterwards I organised for three of them to spend some time with us job shadowing. They were with us for around half a day seeing what we do, and one of them was really interested, applied for a job here, and is working here now.

If I hadn’t taken the chance to go along and talk to people, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now. It’s something I really recommend to other people. Go along and find out what’s out there!

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